Noel Neill had quite a few small film roles in the 1940s, but will always be remembered as Lois Lane, the love interest of Superman. In 1948, she was cast as Lane opposite Kirk Alyn as Superman in a 15-episode serial for Paramount Pictures, and then another called Superman and the Mole Men. Phyllis Coates was cast as Lois Lane in the TV series Adventures of Superman, but left after one year, and Neill stepped in to reprise her role in 1953. She continued in the role for five years until the series ended, and then retired. However, Neill appeared in the 1978 film Superman as Lois Lane’s mother, and played Lex Luthor’s wife in the 2006 film Superman Returns.
Lois Lane was quite competent but her quests to uncover big stories for the Daily Planet always landed her in formulaic peril. It was up to Superman to shed his Clark Kent identity, often in a phone booth, and then swoop in late in the show and rescue her from a variety of evil-doers.
Along the way, Lane developed a crush on Superman - even dreaming in one episode that they were to be married - but she was oddly cool toward Kent. Lane never noticed that when Kent would disappear, Superman would appear suddenly to save her and that the two men were never seen together.
Neill said she was often asked why Lane never caught on to Kent’s secret identity, and would respond, “I didn’t want to lose my job.”
Neill cheerfully participated in promoting the Superman franchise throughout her life. Noel Neill died Sunday at her home in Tucson, Arizona after a long illness. She was 95.